On May 30, 2015, I broke up with you, Atlanta Braves. I’d loved you unconditionally, in sickness and in health (some loooong years of sickness, by the way) my entire life, and some of my earliest memories were from that ugly bowl called Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. I supported you when others sported bumper stickers that read, “Go Braves, and take the Falcons with you!”
But after Ted Turner gave you away to some corporate folks who can’t find the state of Georgia on a map, things went downhill. You got cheap on me. Worse, you decided the perfectly good house we had in Atlanta wasn’t good enough for you and ran off to your wealthy friends in Cobb County.
You just knew I’d follow, but then you watched as I walked away singing, “Here I go again on my own!” by Whitesnake. You got jealous because you thought you saw Tawny Kitaen rolling around on the hood of my car as I drove away. (Actually, it was just a jaywalker I hit while leaving.)
I was feeling pretty good about myself. I knew that I could have my pick of any sport, any team I wanted. I had my football, my Bulldogs and Falcons, and we had took some amazing trips together. But each time we got close — oh so close — to eternal bliss, it all fell apart.
You, though, went all the way with me … in 1995. And 20 years later, I gave up on us.
Sure, I flirted with some of your friends like the Cubs, Red Sox and Astros, but it just felt awkward. The latter even cheated on me … and other folks.
I still love other sports, especially football, and I can’t be a one-sport man if that’s what you’re looking for. I also love ice hockey and a little bit of basketball, especially the NCAA Tournament. And if they had stuck with me, maybe I wouldn’t be here today, crawling back to you.
But they left me — poof! It was like we were struck by a pandemic or a plague of murder hornets.
Football said she’s coming back in the fall, but I don’t know. She’s already broken out date for the NFL preseason. Granted, I didn’t want to go there anyway, but I’m concerned it’s a harbinger of relationship woes on the horizon.
Basketball disappeared and then showed up in some sort of bubble. No matter how much I knock, she won’t let me in. “What about my Hawks?” I pleaded from outside with tears streaming. “Your what? Ain’t no Hawks up in here!” Indeed, she just callously tossed them like yesterday’s Knickerbockers.
My usual flings like The Masters golf tournament and the Olympics have promised hookups in the fall and next summer, but I suspect they’re just putting me off until they can find a better option.
I get it. I’m older. I got less hair. I’m worth about 12 bucks. I thought I could have any sport, any team, but they clearly aren’t attracted to me anymore. So, here I am, flowers in hand. OK, it’s kudzu, but it’s all I could find on short notice.
I want you back, Atlanta Braves. You’re all I got right now. You’re every sport in the world to me right now. You can keep the fancy house in Cobb County, although I hope you don’t mind my saying that it looks awfully empty without me there. You don’t even have to be your full self. You can be like a 60-game version of yourself. You can even keep those annoying pets like your cat and the designated hitter.
You don’t have to give me an answer right now, Braves. I’ll give you some space, like way more than six feet. You need time to process this. I need time to learn to spell Foltynewicz. Heck, I need time to learn to pronounce it. (Wait, as of this morning, um, never mind.) But I’m willing to do what it takes to get you back.
In the immortal yacht rocky words of Player: Baby come back. You can blame it all on me. I was wrong, and I just can’t live …
Well, actually, you were wrong, but I’m willing to forgive. Now, let’s play ball!